Making Stridz Athlete Development Logo

The NHL and NHLPA have finally reached an agreement (one which most people have created numerous times prior to the start of the 2012-13 season at their local watering whole). I think the whole world seen a 50/50 split coming! Now comes the fun part. With players coming back into a shortened training camp (likely to be less than 10 days) and players coming in from a variety of different fitness levels (some in game shape, some in pre-training camp shape, and others not in shape at all) it is likely that we will see an entirely different season than normal. It is probable that more players will suffer minor tweaks and pulls than normal, but are these injuries something which owners/managers should be concerned about. The answer to this question is an overwhelming YES! As professional athletes, these players should have been treating this strike similar to an extended summer training program. This should have included regular maintenance (soft tissue therapy) as well as a focus on addressing other weakness, imbalances or asymmetries in their body. I am sure you could talk to numerous strength and conditioning coaches and get numerous different answers as to what the players should have been doing during this extended summer training camp. However, I think that all of them would put a focus on regular maintenance and extended prehab in order to make sure that the athletes are prepared to start the season at any given time. From an on-ice perspective, the players should have continued to maintain some form of on-ice conditioning similar to what would normally occur at the end of the summer. This might be getting on ice 1-2/week and progressing up to be on the ice 3-5 times/week as they near the start of the season. The one thing that is certain, those players who have been playing and practicing in "real game situations" (KHL, AHL, CHL or other European Leagues) will likely have a significant advantage over the first 3-4 weeks of the season, but we will have to wait until late July to understand the true effects in terms of conditioning and who was best prepared for the grueling season which is set to start on Jan 19th!

Brian Shackel, MSc